Twenty-first century North Americans would like to think of ourselves as enlightened, rational people. And yet, I cannot remember staying in a hotel with a thirteenth floor that was willing to admit the fact. So here’s the elevator button panel at the Hilton Baltimore where I’m currently staying. Sure enough, as usual there’s no thirteenth floor.
I have three questions.
First, how many people would really have a problem with staying on the thirteenth floor? Apparently enough to perpetuate this silly charade.
Second, do those who perpetuate this silly charade really think that they are going to fool the fates this easily? Everybody knows that every floor after the twelfth is simply mislabelled. If there really is something unlucky about thirteen, that bad luck will surely continue with a mislabelled thirteenth floor. (And if it won’t, please explain why.)
Finally, if thirteen really is unlucky, and if that bad luck can be addressed by relabeling the thirteenth floor, then it would follow that Friday the 13th is equally unlucky, and that bad luck there can be addressed by relabeling the day: I propose “Friday the 12th-14th interlude” or “Friday the 12th b” or (my personal favorite) “Friday, the date of which we must be silent.”